Israel Breaks the Top Commandments

Do not have other gods besides me. Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am…

Duties of the Kohathites

There’s a good reason the book of Numbers is called that: it lists a bunch of numbers. It’s a census of the people of Israel. And there were a lot of people! If you’ve ever seen Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic film “The Ten Commandments” (shown on network television every year since 1973 during Easter/Passover…

Who Hardened Pharoah’s Heart?

Today’s Bible reading tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (Exodus 7:3 and Exodus 4:21 from yesterday’s reading as well as future readings of Exodus 10:1-2, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:4) But in Exodus 8:15, 32, we’re told that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Several times, we’re told that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, though we don’t…

Returning to Bethel: The House of God

In today’s Bible reading, Jacob (now named Israel) returns to Luz, which he had named Bethel (Bethel means House of God). You may remember that previously (Genesis 28), Jacob/Israel had an encounter with God and dreamed of a stairway to heaven with God’s angels ascending and descending the stairway. Jacob/Israel was so moved by this…

Rebekah “Falls” for Isaac

In today’s Bible reading, we read the story of when Rebekah falls in love with Isaac. The culture of the Twenty-first Century Western World is very different than that of Isaac’s day. Abraham sends his servant to the land of his relatives to find a wife for his “firstborn son” Isaac. Abraham was concerned that…